As a brief preface, allow me to address the people who googled “The Usell Guy Naked” yesterday to find our little slice of blogging heaven (yes, there were more than one): You people have issues. Massive issues. And while I’m 95% sure that said pictures are not on MWTVG, that other 5% of me says they would be somewhere around here if anywhere.
STARZ premiered their newest series (seriez?) last night based around the War of the Roses in 15th century England. I suppose you couldn’t call THE WHITE QUEEN a “Starz Original Series”, rather a “BBC Original Series Purchased by Starz” since it was already produced and essentially ran in entirety overseas. While reviews coming from the UK commonly had negative slant, I found no glaring issues with the show and both me and my MIDWEST WIFE actually quite enjoyed it.
I assume the biggest complaint about THE WHITE QUEEN is in the historical accuracy/inaccuracy which I assure you is no big deal with actually viewing the show. Unless you are an amateur history professor, please keep in mind that it is based on a series of “historically based” novels by author PHILIPPA GREGORY. So the strangely out-of-place plotline about Queen Elizabeth’s mother being into witchcraft and Elizabeth herself having ESP powers is merely because it is two levels of fiction removed from actual history. Whoever critiques the show from that standpoint needs to just sit back and enjoy it based on the merits of the actual show.
Besides, while I do appreciate history and could historically nitpick away on the finer intricacies of a drama on Starz, it would require entirely too much reading. I would much rather continue to learn everything I know about everything by watching it on television. After all, I’m not a MIDWEST BOOK GUY, am I??
THE WHITE QUEEN clearly attempts to appeal to a mid-ground viewer stuck somewhere between bland historical drama (DOWNTON ABBEY) and sensationalized medieval fiction (GAME OF THRONES), and from the looks of the first episode it largely hits the mark. I’m always a fan of more action-oriented shows, so hopefully the battles teased in the previews eventually happen. But if we compare directly to GAME OF THRONES, there was not much action initially in that show either. Instead, it relied on terrific actors and a rich story to keep viewer’s interest.
I can see similar veins running through THE WHITE QUEEN, especially with the acting talent being top-notch. Queen Elizabeth is played by the largely unknown REBECCA FERGUSON who is both beautiful and talented alongside MAX IRONS (RED RIDING HOOD, THE HOST) who plays King Edward. JANET MCTEER (DAMAGES, WOMAN IN BLACK) plays Elizabeth’s mother and it was great to see JAMES FRAIN again whom I enjoyed so much as Franklin in the third season of TRUE BLOOD.
If nothing else, there are plenty of boobs and sex scenes to at least mildly entertain the male audience regardless of interest level in British historical drama. Thankfully, it was completely devoid of the Starz signature move: the ‘Obligatory Penis Shot’ (If I may be the first to coin the term). This is in ‘stark’ contrast (pun intended) to DA VINCI’S DEMONS and SPARTACUS which literally relished in the liberal use of OPS to the point that it could easily be turned into a drinking game.
My point? This is solid ‘B’ material and a show that I’ll stick with for at least a few more episodes. I find myself in need of more action, so hopefully it delivers (at least a little bit) on the promise of medieval swordplay.